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The number of UK residential transactions, on a seasonally adjusted basis, rose by 24.1% between January 2020 and January 2021, according to the latest property transactions data by HMRC.

This annual rise comes as the stamp duty holiday deadline fast approaches on the 31 March.

Despite the annual rise, on a monthly basis the number of residential transactions dropped by 2.4%.

Looking to the number of non-residential transactions in the UK during January, this figure fell 8.2% year-on-year to 8,980.

In addition, between December 2020 and January 2021, the number of non-residential transactions declined by 3.6%.

The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in January 2021 was 98,830, 17.9% higher than January 2020 and 25.2% lower than December 2020.

Furthermore, the non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in January 2021 was 7,680, 14.6% lower than January 2020.

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The data also shows that the level non-residential transactions was 28.0% lower than December 2020.

Mike Scott, chief analyst at Yopa, said: “New figures from HMRC show that the number of home purchases completed in January was still very high, as buyers rushed to beat the 31 March stamp duty deadline.

“We expect that the number of purchases will remain very high until March, and then drop off for a few months before returning to normal.

“The year as a whole is likely to see a higher number of purchases than in recent years, perhaps as high as 1.3 million.

“The housing market has remained open during the recent and current lockdowns, but many people are still waiting for life to return closer to normal before they make their next move.

“After a brief slowdown in the second quarter after the stamp duty holiday ends, we anticipate a very active housing market in the second half of this year.”

David Whittaker, chief executive of Keystone Property Finance, added: “Today’s figures suggest that home buyers who are unlikely to make the stamp duty holiday deadline are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to purchases, delaying applications until the Chancellor providers greater clarity over the future of the tax holiday.

“However, despite the uncertainty, second properties are making up a significant proportion of the continued rising demand.

“Data from Hamptons International reveals second home sales increased by 58% in January 2021 compared to the same month last year.

“This follows a period of buoyancy in the buy-to-let market as landlords look to expand their portfolios, while taking advantage of an increasing number of buy-to-let products on the market.

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“However, being a landlord brings with it a series of challenges, not least the recent and upcoming regulatory and tax changes.

“Qualified advice from mortgage brokers is crucial in helping landlords to navigate the market and access the right mortgage for their unique circumstances.”

Nick Barnes, head of research at Chestertons, said: “Following a record December, the sales market has maintained momentum throughout January 2021.

“Compared to January last year, Chestertons registered 9% more instructions, indicating that sellers remain keen to move home.

“This is further highlighted by a 47% year-on-year increase in properties currently on the market.

“Equally, we have agreed 27% more sales, largely driven by house hunters rushing to meet the stamp duty holiday deadline but also possibly reflecting a desire to beat any potential shutting down of the housing market as proposed by the Labour party.

“In spite of lockdown restrictions, there are still plenty of households who are keen to move, which is further boosted by the roll-out of the vaccine.

“Boris Johnson’s announcement of the slow easing of lockdown restrictions might bring a new spark to the housing market as people are eager to return to some form of normality.

“So far in February, Chestertons has seen a 73% increase in sales compared to the same period in February 2020.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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